All posts by Jen Thorpe

Apple Sent an Email to Podcast Providers



Podcasters who have shows on Apple Podcasts may have received an email from Apple. For those that did not get that email, Podnews has posted a copy of it. It turns out that part of the information in that email was incorrect.

The email from Apple started with “Dear Podcast Provider”. The email was focused on pointing out updates “to help improve the experience for your listeners on Apple Podcasts.” Here is a portion of the email that is correct:

Manage Show Launches

You can now hide shows while being reviewed for approval. This way you can easily manage the launch of new shows directly from Podcasts Connect.

Simply select Hide Podcast after submitting it for review – this action will not impact or delay the feed’s review process. When approved, you can then select Unhide Podcast and allow up to 24 hours for your show to become searchable on Apple Podcasts.

Learn more about planning and promoting your new shows on Podcast Marketing Best Practices.

Podnews received a response from an Apple Podcast support team member who confirmed that the portion of the email about Updates to Host and Guest Image Specifications was inaccurate. Apple updated the aspect ratio of images of hosts and guests displayed on the show and episode pages (but made some mistakes). The correct information is:

Requirements:

  •  Square aspect ratio
  • Minimum Size: 1440 x 1440 pixels, Preferred: 2400 x 2400 pixels
  • Format: PNG or JPG

Guidelines:

  •  One person per image
  • Talent should face and look into the camera
  • Fit the entire face of the person within the image
  • Follow the eyebrow and lip guidelines
  • Leave padding between the edge of the image and the face
  • No borders of any kind
  • No pixelation or low-resolution images
  • No typography or logos of any kind
  • Don’t crop head, ears, or chin.

There is a Holiday Submission Schedule that podcasters need to know about. If you plan to release new shows on Apple Podcasts in November or December, be aware of the following periods of delayed submission activity: November 22 to December 2, and December 23 to January 2.


Edison Research Announced First Podcast Consumer Tracker Report



Edison Research has delivered to clients the first and only comprehensive measure of the comparative reach of America’s top podcast networks, the Podcast Consumer Tracker.

Edison, the leading podcast research company in the world, has been studying this rapidly evolving medium since 2006, and the Podcast Consumer Tracker represents the first successful endeavor to present a unified look at audience information at the publisher/network level. The Podcast Consumer Tracker also contains competitive intelligence, audience demographics, and sales targeting information for podcast publishers and networks.

The Podcast Consumer Tracker from Edison currently has 10 charter subscribers, including NPR, PodcastOne, Wondery, ESPN, WarnerMedia, and other significant publishing and agency partners. The study is based on a continuous sampling of consumers who have listened to a podcast in the last week. Comparative rankings of publisher networks are available only to subscribers.

Among the findings in the first report:

  • The Joe Rogan Experience is the leading podcast in terms of reach amongst weekly podcast consumers.
  • There are significant content consumption differences between iPhone and Android users, rendering “Top Podcast” charts derived exclusively from users of either to be unrepresentative of total listening behavior.
  • While the study tracks the relative reach of the top podcast networks, 54% of weekly podcast consumers have listened to an unaffiliated, independent podcast in the last week.

“This is the first study in the podcast space to tackle a universal measure of reach,” notes Edison SVP Tom Webster. “There are, of course, various charts of downloads that cover parts of the overall universe, but those either reflect only a portion of the podcast audience, or they measure publishers that opt-in. The Podcast Consumer Tracker’s goal is a truly inclusive measure of the comparative penetration of the leading publishers and networks. In that, we have been highly successful.”

In addition to network reach statistics, the study also provides the only nationally representatives look at the purchasing and consumption patterns of podcast listeners, content preferences, and advertising targeting information across a broad array of consumer goods and services.


Last Podcast on the Left Moving Exclusively to Spotify



The Hollywood Reporter reported that Last Podcast on the Left will be moving exclusively to Spotify in 2020. This change could be welcomed by fans of the podcast who currently have a Spotify account, but may make fans who do not have one worry about being left out.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote that this move is part a larger push by Spotify to offer a slate of first-run and original shows to its 248 million users.

Nabbing a longstanding podcast like Last Podcast is crucial to Spotify’s push into the audio medium, lending credibility to its efforts as it makes splashy acquisitions and inks deals with high-profile talent like Barack and Michelle Obama. Other preexisting shows that have become Spotify exclusives include The Joe Budden Podcast, the German-language Gemischtes Hack and the Spanish-language podcast Se Regala Dudas. Spotify says that all three have built on their audiences when going exclusive on its platform.

Henry Zebrowski, one of the hosts of Last Podcast on the Left, tweeted a short thread that started with: “This is a very exciting piece of news for us. Over the next couple of months we will begin a partnership with @Spotify who have showed us we have the same goals in taking podcasts seriously. Let’s do this shit”

He continued the thread with: “We will be posting on all feeds for a while, also the show remains free. They do not own our network but are going to support us in expanding the shows we make, which means more staff, higher quality podcasts and more content than you can shake a vagina at”

Ben Kissel, another host of Last Podcast on the Left tweeted: “Regarding the Spotify partnership with LPN, EVERY show will still be free to listen to and download through Spotify. The content will not change at all nor will our Patreon be affected. This opportunity is going to allow us to give you even more sweet content in 2020 with new shows!”


Blubrry Podcasting Announces Pro-Production Services



Blubrry Podcasting has been leading the way providing podcasters with hosting and tools since 2005 and is now offering high-touch professional post-production.

Post-production for many podcasters is, at best, time-consuming, and at worst, technically challenging and detrimental to publishing.

Right now, professional hosting customers can choose between a “launch/relaunch” rolling into weekly production, or simply transfer their show over to an “auto-pilot” package. All packages include support from a dedicated team of podcast pros!

Once again, Blubrry is leading the way in podcast innovation, continuing to put the podcaster first.

CEO Todd Cochrane said, “We often hear how overburdened our clients feel when they are producing all the elements of their podcast, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m confident, these pro-packages are the ultimate solution to help our podcasters get their valuable time back so they can focus on creating their best content and prevent pod-fade.”

Spots are available by application only to current/new Blubrry Pro Hosting customers and are limited to just 15 slots for Launch and Relaunch podcasts and 50 slots for ‘Auto-Pilot’ show transfers. Customers that are not currently subscribed to ‘professional level’ should upgrade to become eligible for pro-production services.


Pod Save America to Release Series on the Iowa Caucuses



Crooked Media, and Pineapple Street Studios announced that they will release a five-episode limited series on the Iowa caucuses. Pod Save America: On the Ground in Iowa will be hosted by Crooked Media co-founder and Pod Save America co-host, Tommy Vietor, and will take listeners to Iowa to spend time with candidates, campaign staffers, and voters who will determine the outcome. Vietor worked as the Iowa Press Secretary for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Debuting on Tuesday, November 19, this limited series aims to help listeners understand why Iowa is the first state in the primary process, how the caucuses work, and what it takes to win. The show is produced by the Pineapple Street Studios team led by Senior Producer Kat Aaron.

“We’ve been looking for an ambitious narrative series that can help explain this inexplicable political moment, and we’re so thrilled to have found it with Crooked – there’s nobody better to partner with on a show like this. We’re honored. Tommy is the exact right person to help us all understand how and why Iowa became the key to deciding who will take on Trump in 2020,” said Max Linsky, co-founder of Pineapple Street Studios.

“The Democratic Primary is going to run through Iowa,” Vietor said. “We want to help listeners understand how the caucuses work, the good parts and the bad, and introduce them to the young organizers who are at the heart and soul of these campaigns.”

The special will be available on the Pod Save America feed; each episode title will begin with Iowa. You can subscribe to Pod Save America on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play Podcasts, Tunein, and via RSS feed.


YouTube’s Terms of Service Changes are Controversial



YouTube recently changed its Terms of Service, and one part of it is making some podcasters, YouTubers and others who use the platform a bit nervous. The new Terms of Service are set to go into effect on December 10, 2019.

Mashable reported that the wording in YouTube’s new Terms of Service could be interpreted to mean that YouTube could delete your account if the platform determines that your account is “no longer commercially viable”.

Mashable also noted that people who have a YouTube account, but aren’t content creators, could also lose their account if YouTube determines that the user watches videos but does not monetize. The wording in the Terms of Service is rather vague. The Account Suspension & Termination section in YouTube’s Terms of Service are where the troubling portions are located. One part is titled: “Terminations by YouTube for Service Changes”. That part says:

YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access, to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.

There’s another part in the Terms of Service that has podcasters (and other content creators) worried. It says: “If your Google account is terminated or your Google account’s access to the Service is restricted, you may continue using certain aspects of the Service (such as viewing only) without an account, and this agreement will continue to apply to such use.” The implication is that there could be a situation where YouTube suspends someone’s account, and this results in the person losing their Gmail account as well.

Mashable got a response from a YouTube spokesperson, who stated: “To clarify, there are no new rights in our ToS to terminate an account bc it’s not making money. As before, we may discontinue certain YouTube features or parts of the service, for ex., if they’re outdated or have low usage. This does not impact creators/viewers in any new ways.”

Despite this clarification, I think that podcasters, who post videos of their episodes on YouTube, might still have reasons for concern. Ideally, content creators will have copies of the videos that they posted on YouTube backed up on their own computer (just in case YouTube deletes their account).


Spreaker Prime Podcasters Generated $1M in Ad Revenue



Spreaker announced the initial success of Spreaker Prime, their new white-glove service for talented independent podcasters and networks. In the first three months of the revenue-sharing program, Spreaker’s Spreaker Prime podcasters generated $1 million via programmatic advertising, with sixty-percent of the profits going directly to the podcasters.

Earlier this year, we decided to put more of an emphasis on helping the promising podcasters on our platform by connecting them to more monetization opportunities. With this goal in mind, we dreamt up Spreaker Prime, a program that supports the growth of independent podcasters and publishers by helping them increase exposure, streamline publishing and maximize ad revenue.

The advertising technology that Spreaker uses was created by Voxnest (Spreaker’s parent company).

Three months after the public application to join launched, Spreaker Prime podcasts have generated more than $1 million dollars in dynamic advertising revenue.

To qualify for Spreaker Prime, you need to have five thousand downloads per month. Spreaker Prime offers free hosting, dynamic ad injection, marketing support, and priority customer care. Spreaker Prime members could have ads from one of Spreaker’s premier advertising partners heard on their podcast. Those partners include: Tesco, Uber, Decathalon, British Airways, Hilton, and Leroy Merlin.


JetBlue Expands Free Entertainment with Spotify – and More



JetBlue, the only major U.S. airline with free high speed Fly-Fi and seatback screens at every seat, on every plane, is providing customers with even more inflight entertainment (IFE) options basd on their feedback with the launch of its newest onboard offerings from Showtime, Spotify, Inscape, and PressReader.

Starting in November of 2019, customers onboard the airline’s HD touchscreen-equipped aircraft can enjoy access to full seasons of the hottest shows from Showtime, chart-topping podcasts from Spotify, the day’s biggest headlines from PressReader, curated meditation and relaxation content from Inscape and more.

“After almost 20 years of disrupting the industry with free live TV at every seat, on every plane – we are once again re-defining inflight entertainment by listening closely to our customers’ feedback and offering even more options to make the most of their time onboard,” said Mariya Stoyanova, director of product development, JetBlue. “Whether you want to binge-watch, binge-listen, connect, disconnect, or just discover something new – you can do it from our new HD seatback screens, your own devices, or most likely, all of the above.”

JetBlue’s newest collaboration with Spotify, the airline’s exclusive podcast partner, will bring podcasts from Anchor, Gimlet, Parcast and Spotify Studios to seatback screens. Titles include Business of HYPE, Conspiracy Theories, Dope Labs, Heavyweight, The Horror of Dolores Ranch, and Superwoman with Rebecca Minkoff.

JetBlue’s newest IFE partners will complement the airline’s already-free 100+ channels of DIRECTV, hundreds of free movies and up to nearly 60 full seasons of your favorite shows, and individual in-seat USB/power outlets that are available on its Airbus A320, A321 and A321neo aircraft. JetBlue’s free high speed Fly-Fi – powered by Viasat – is capable of streaming video and is available across the fleet, with expanded coverage being introduced on A320 and A321neo aircraft that will keep customers connected even when overwater or in international BlueCities.


Sony Music Entertainment and The Onion Announce a Podcast Partnership



The Onion, the leading comedy and news satire brand, and Sony Music Entertainment announced a strategic partnership to develop original podcast content. The companies will co-create a daily satirical podcast focused on current events called The Topical, which is set to launch in January 2020.

This partnership will bring to comedy fans a whole new way to experience The Onion’s distinctive voice and insightful commentary on a daily basis across a wide variety of platforms. The Onion will oversee all creative aspects of the podcast, including writing, production, and recording.

Commenting on the announcement, Jordan LaFlure, Executive Director at The Onion said:

The Onion is thrilled to have found a stalwart ally in Sony Music Entertainment to help it dominate yet another medium in the world of journalism. A daily news podcast provides an opportunity for The Onion to access and inform billions of presumably illiterate people previously deprived of the finest reporting the world has ever known.

Tom Mackay, President, Film & TV A&R, Sony Music Entertainment said: “The Onion is synonymous with great topical and cultural satire and we are thrilled to be working with them to further expand their presence in podcasting. We look forward to bringing their highly impactful brand of humor and commentary to fans everywhere and maximizing the commercial opportunities for this exciting new comedy podcast format.”

The agreement further advances Sony Music’s creator-first approach to collaborating with unique, creative talent. As a partner in podcasting, Sony Music provides its expertise in content creation, marketing and new technology monetization to help storytellers enhance the scale and scope of their work.